Are you ready for the twists and turns of the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL? Let Joy Tomlinson of Frontstretch.com get your daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings rosters ready for the Cup Series' final playoff race of the Round of 12.
This isn’t the Cup Series’ first go-around at the 2.32-mile course, as it’s run three races on this layout beginning in 2018. Additionally, the Charlotte ROVAL is the seventh road course race of 2021, so you have a lot of data to look at to help you decide which drivers should run well this Sunday.
It should be another interesting race, especially for the championship hopefuls. Chase Elliott has won back-to-back events there and comes into this race as the favorite, but he hasn’t been as dominant as I thought he would. He won two of the six road course races so far this year and should again contend for the victory. However, like we saw last week at Talladega Superspeedway, anything can happen.
There is one driver who is already locked into the next round- polesitter Denny Hamlin. He secured his place in the Round of 8 with a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
But four drivers are below the cutline coming into North Carolina: Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, William Byron and Alex Bowman. These and the other playoff drivers will likely do whatever they can to either grab some stage points or win the race. If they’re too aggressive, they might knock themselves out completely, but we’ve seen before what drivers are willing to do to win. In the Charlotte ROVAL’s debut, Jimmie Johnson closed in on Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap. Here’s what happened.
Yep, Ryan Blaney sneaked in a win after Johnson spun right into Truex in the last chicane. Will we see another good late battle for the lead? Tune in Sunday and find out.
Before I move on to this week's picks at the Charlotte ROVAL, here's a look back at last week's rain-shortened race at Talladega:
Blaney didn't get up front with his Team Penske teammates near the end of stage two and ended up finishing 15th, with Elliott not too far behind in 18th. Ryan Preece was near the front but ended up wrecking out late, resulting in a dismal score.
The minimum cashing score in the $2,500 Quarter Jukebox was 182.45 and had Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, both former winners at Talladega. The pair finished second and third, respectively, and scored 50.7 and 48.7 points.
As for scoring, DraftKings lowered the points for each fastest lap to 0.45 this season, as well as the points awarded for first place to 45. DraftKings has also put more emphasis on drivers who finish inside the top 10 and top 20. For example, the gap between 10th and 11th place is now two points instead of one: 10th gets 34 points, while 11th gets 32, etc.
Here's a complete rundown of DraftKings' NASCAR scoring rules.
Note: the following is a sample NASCAR DraftKings lineup; you can use the information to create your own.
Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Plays/Sample Lineup for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
AJ Allmendinger ($11,200)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 7.0
I wasn’t as sure whether I wanted to have the most expensive driver in this lineup, but ultimately decided to play Allmendinger. He’s starting in the back and could score a good amount of fantasy points with a top-10 finish.
While he did earn Kaulig Racing’s first Cup win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, that was mostly due to being in the right place at the right time. Allmendinger avoided the curb that knocked out several frontrunners late in the race. Then in double overtime, Chase Briscoe bumped Hamlin out of the lead before serving his penalty, paving the way for Allmendinger.
Allmendinger has two other top 10s at road courses this year in the Cup Series and could score his fourth on Sunday.
Chase Elliott ($10,700)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 3 starts, 2 wins, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 2.7
As mentioned previously, Elliott is the defending two-time winner at the Charlotte ROVAL. He led 35 and 27 laps in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Additionally, he was sixth in the track’s first event in 2018.
This season, the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hasn’t led as many circuits on the road courses, but he still has five top fives. This includes victories at Circuit of the Americas and Road America. Elliott’s likely to be a popular play on DraftKings, as he should be. If he snags another top five and notches some laps led and fastest laps, he’ll have a good fantasy result.
Tyler Reddick ($7,800)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 1 start, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 12.0
Reddick’s road course stats aren’t flashy compared to some of the others, but he does have three top-10 results on this track type. He was ninth at COTA after earning the pole, eighth at Road America and 10th at Watkins Glen International. Additionally, he led five laps in the July 4 event in Wisconsin and six circuits on the Indy road course.
The main reason why I’m rostering the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing pilot is because of his starting position. Reddick rolls off pit road from 29th place, so even a top-15 finish would get a good amount of position differential points on DraftKings.
By the way, I also like Kurt Busch, who is a bit more than Reddick. Busch has two top fives and four top 10s at the road courses this year and was fourth in last year’s ROVAL event.
Chase Briscoe ($7,600)
Xfinity career at Charlotte ROVAL: 3 starts, 1 win, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Xfinity average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 9.3
This is the first time Briscoe will venture through the Charlotte infield in the Cup Series, but he does have experience there in the Xfinity Series. He led 33 laps in the NXS’ inaugural Charlotte ROVAL event in 2018 en route to the win. He also led just over 20 laps in each of the past two years, but only garnered one additional top 10 in 2019.
Briscoe’s had a rough rookie outing in Cup so far this year. However, he drove his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to three top 10s- all at road courses. He was sixth at COTA and Road America and tacked on a ninth at Watkins Glen. And like I referenced earlier, he battled Hamlin for the win in the second overtime restart at Indy. Unfortunately, he cut across the grass after turn 1 and didn’t stop before getting back on track, so he was penalized.
While this likely won’t happen again this week, Briscoe could earn his fourth top 10 of the season.
Ryan Newman ($6,700)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 24.7
This lower range doesn't have as many drivers that I like, so with Newman I’m just hoping for some position differential points on DraftKings. He’s beginning in 24th so there’s some potential for a top 20. Although he only has two finishes of 20th or better, both came at ROVALS, if you will. He was 20th at the Daytona road course and crossed the line 10th at Indy.
Newman also was 11th in the first Charlotte ROVAL event in 2018, 18 spots further from where he started. It’s not certain what he will do next season, as Keselowski is set to drive the No. 6 for Roush Fenway Racing in 2022, so Newman might try to push himself more on the racetrack in these final races.
Dark Horse Performer
Ryan Preece ($6,000)
Career at Charlotte ROVAL: 2 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Charlotte ROVAL: 17.5
I know Preece didn’t work out last week at Talladega but I’ll still place him in my lineup. For one, he’s starting 31st, so it wouldn’t take much from him to earn a decent amount of fantasy points. He’s already shown in the past that he can get some good results at road courses.
At the Charlotte ROVAL last year, he ended in 14th place. Then this season Preece grabbed a ninth at the Daytona road course and a 15th in Austin, Texas. Though his results haven’t been as good lately on this track type, he still could get a top 20.